Obama Backs Bypassing GOP on Health Care

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After months of debate and no progress on health care legislation, President Obama is now urging Congress to use a controversial strategy that will deny Republicans the chance of a filibuster.

Under the special budget procedure known as "reconciliation," it will now take just 51 Senate votes to pass the health care bill, rather than the standard 60.

"The American people want to know if it's still possible for Washington to look out for their interests and their future," Obama said Wednesday. "They are waiting for us to act. They are waiting for us to lead. And as long as I hold this office, I intend to provide that leadership."

That leadership begins with Obama now backing the controversial strategy and he's confident that it could work.

"I don't know how this plays politically, but I know it's right," he said. "And so I ask Congress to finish its work and I look forward to signing this reform into law."

However, it will be easier said than done. In a perfect world for the Democrats, the House would pass the already approved Senate bill, then pass a few fixes to that Senate bill. Those fixes would head over to the Senate for the controversial reconciliation process that only needs 51 votes. At that point, the bill would be sent to the president.

Republicans believe pushing health care through this way will backfire on the party.

"Reconciliation is not an easy process in the Senate," GOP Sen. Judd Gregg said. "It's clearly an attempt to railroad the Senate."

The president has been frustrated at the Republican cohesiveness on health care. This week, Obama gave in on Republican demands on issues like medical malpractice reform and health savings accounts.

The White House understands it may not get any Republicans on board, but may highlight the Republican obstructionism. GOP lawmakers say there is a reason they are standing in the way of this bill.

"This isn't what the American people are asking for," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell charged. "Americans don't want us to tack a few good ideas onto a bill that reshapes one-sixth of the economy."

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CBN News
David Brody

David Brody

CBN News Chief Political Correspondent

David Brody is an Emmy Award-winning veteran news journalist who has interviewed many prominent national figures during his career of nearly 25 years. Currently, David covers the White House and interviews national newsmakers across the country.  Follow David on Twitter @TheBrodyFile and "like" him at Facebook.com/TheBrodyFile.